Ideal candidates for admission are new venture or spin-off innovators with technological product ideas or knowledge-based business concepts. Examples of acceptable technology areas include, but are not limited to, software, electronic hardware, Internet/web-based, multimedia, nanotechnology, industrial, energy-related, information, engineering, light manufacturing and manufacturing-related technologies. CAN BE gives preference to companies possessing or developing proprietary technologies, but this not the sole criterion for selection. Certain service-oriented businesses, such as business/financial services or education, for example, are not precluded from participation. Selection for admission into this broad-based program is accomplished on a case-by-case basis as a means to eliminate the preclusion of potential clients that may not fall within the aforementioned areas specifically.
It is the policy of CAN BE that a business plan be submitted to CAN BE and approved by the selection committee. The applicant will have an appropriate time frame in which to correct criticisms and/or shortcomings in the feasibility/business plan, during which time CAN BE can offer assistance.
I. The Business Plan should illustrate:
(1) Sufficient operating resources or credible access to funding sources;
(2) A product or service that reaches the commercialization stage within the residency period; and
(3) Financial projections demonstrating a trend toward increased revenues and profitability;
(4) Commercialization potential based upon the feasibility of the technology or business concept, market potential, management expertise and the potential for financial return;
(5) A potential for the generation of jobs within three years of launch, spin-off job creation and increased community benefit/awareness;
(6) An operational feasibility/business plan delineating tasks, milestones and cash flow projections. Assistance in business plan formation can be provided through CAN BE’s portfolio of services and/or partnerships.
II. The advisory committee will review business plan goals and objectives annually with the client company. The review is designed to offer support, positive reinforcement and feedback.
III. Each tenant is required to submit an annual financial report that will be reviewed by trained individuals. CAN BE shall provide direction to the client in event that problems are discovered. At its discretion, CAN BE can request that the client submit periodic financial reports where serious cash-flows issues exist, until improvement is demonstrated.
IV. Each client is required to sign a one-year lease agreement. There is a maximum length of residency in the program that is typically three years, but in cases where the client needs a little more time, residency can be extended to up to five years. Official graduations are held for each client that successfully exits the program. Requests for extension are granted based on the participant’s continued and steady progress.
V. A commitment and willingness to accept guidance, and involvement is required of participants in the CAN BE program:
(1) Clients are expected to participate in training/education seminars and workshops, when available, on topics that benefit the client’s business needs.
(2) Applicants must demonstrate the need for CAN BE’s services and a willingness to use them. Clients not utilizing the support services available within the incubator are not good candidates for inclusion in the incubator program.
VI. Participants must sign a service agreement contract and lease prior to entering into the incubator. CAN DO Inc. also requires an equity warrant from each new technology client at the rate of 1% per year of residency to a maximum of three years. Non-technology based clients are subject to royalty payment agreement based on net revenue.
Since the first three years of any start-up are typically the most critical, most companies should plan to take advantage of the incubator's affordable rent and business services for three to five years. As businesses become self-sufficient enough to move out of the incubator and contribute to the economic growth of the region, other early-stage enterprises take their place. CAN DO Inc. will assist graduates in relocating to suitable space within the community.
(1) Graduates are encouraged to continue drawing upon the mentoring/consulting/networking resources of the incubator director and client community and to recommend new clients.
(2) Graduates must satisfy the program graduation reporting requirements and agree to follow up in the form of brief annual survey completion for a period of five years beyond graduation.